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New law makes nursing home and hospital patients at risk for falls less likely to be injured

A new law passed recently makes nursing home and hospital patients with a risk of falling safer. The law acknowledges problems with the handling and care of patients. Many lawsuits each year are brought on behalf of patients who are injured because the higher level of care they required when being transported or lifted was not met. Patients that are at risk are those at facilities that, either because of neglectful practices, staffing issues or lack of appropriate equipment, are unable to provide the care needed. The new law requires health care facilities to purchase equipment designed to aid in the lifting and handling of patients, such as mechanical lifts, as well as solving many issues relating to nursing home and hospital staff. The New Jersey law makes it mandatory for health care workers to be properly trained and also require that there are enough staff members on hand to be able to meet the needs of patients requiring lifting or transportation. Also important is the protection workers are given from being penalized by employers for refusing to handle a patient because of a concern for the patient’s or their own safety and wellbeing. Many times, patients require multiple staff members in a patient handling procedure and when there are not enough workers available to help, the resulting safety risks are unacceptable. Hopefully other states, including Illinois, will follow suit.